This is a family devotional I submitted for a course assignment ( Didactics ) in January 2018 shortly after the death of my grandfather. It was my attempt at helping my 2-year-old son understand what he would soon witness at the funeral. Having led this devotional with my family about a month ago, if you now ask my son "What is hope?", he will respond: "Waiting for Mommy and waiting for Jesus!"
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Coming of the Lord 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, g that you may not grieve as others do h who have no hope. 14 For i since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him j those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you k by a word from the Lord, 1 that l we who are alive, who are left until m the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For n the Lord himself will descend o from heaven p with a cry of command, with the voice of q an archangel, and r with the sound of the trumpet of God. And s the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be t caught up together with them u in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so v we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
To my 2-year-old son Matthias along with my wife Joanna: How does Matthias feel when Mommy has to go away for a long time? How does Matthias feel when Daddy says Mommy is coming back? How does Matthias feel when Mommy finally comes home? Daddy, Mommy and Matthias love each other very much, but we will each die one day. Death is when someone's life is taken away. They are no longer with us. We become sad when this happens just like how Matthias feels sad when Mommy goes away. We miss them very much and wish they could come back to us again. Now when Daddy tells Matthias that Mommy is coming home, Matthias becomes happy again. He is sad that Mommy is not home yet, but he is also happy knowing she will be home soon. This is what we call "hope". Matthias is filled with hope when he hears Mommy is coming back. In the same way, Jesus fills us hope when we are sad over death because he promised he will come back to bring us all home together– both the dead and the living. So for us death is not like going away forever, but like falling asleep for a long time. We know that one day Jesus will wake up the dead with a loud trumpet. When that day comes, we will be with Jesus and with each other forever and ever. And just like how Matthias is so happy when Mommy comes home, so too will we be happy when Jesus comes back to take us home! How do we feel when a loved one dies? What hope does Jesus give us when we feel this way? When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
Main Point Summary
Christ the Lord has promised to raise the dead in Christ at his coming to be with him forever. Therefore take courage in this hope as you mourn over fellow believers who have fallen asleep in death.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,
Fellow believers in Christ, do not be ignorant about the believers who have slept the sleep of death
g that you may not grieve as others do
in order that you may not mourn for them as unbelievers do
h who have no hope.
because unbelievers cannot possess any hope of salvation for their dead.
For i since we believe that Jesus died
Rather, just as we believe that Jesus died
and rose again,
and then was resurrected from the dead
even so, through Jesus,
so too by believing in Jesus
God will bring with him j those who have fallen asleep.
shall we possess the hope that God will bring alongside Jesus those who have slept the sleep of death.
For this we declare to you k by a word from the Lord, 1
In other words, we proclaim to you a word of hope spoken by the Lord Jesus himself:
that l we who are alive,
namely, that all of us– who are alive
who are left
that is, who remain living
until m the coming of the Lord,
when the Lord returns–
will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
we will not go ahead before the believers who have slept the sleep of death.
For n the Lord himself will descend o from heaven
Rather, the Lord Jesus himself will come down from heaven
p with a cry of command,
by being accompanied with a commanding shout
with the voice of q an archangel,
and along with the voice of a chief angel
and r with the sound of the trumpet of God.
and along with the blaring trumpet of God.
And s the dead in Christ will rise first.
And afterwards the dead believers in Christ will be resurrected first.
Then we who are alive,
And afterwards we believers who are alive–
who are left,
that is, who remain living at the Jesus' return–
will be t caught up together with them u in the clouds
we will be carried up together in the clouds with the resurrected believers
to meet the Lord in the air,
in order to meet the Lord Jesus in the sky
and so v we will always be with the Lord.
with the result that all of us will forever be with the Lord Jesus.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Therefore encourage one another with these words of hope.